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The Cat is Not Dead and Other Updates

The cat is still alive. I don’t refer to the cat by name anymore. I call it ‘cat’ in all the languages I know - 6 (not like anyone’s counting but maybe I am). It’s still alive. Barely. He consumes enough to subsist and so hangs on.

It’s mildly irritating. But then again, I have my period and my default mood is mildly irritated. Thanks to the Mooncup I don’t feel uncomfortable at all. Big shout out to my dad for finding out about this amazing product.

Read up about it. Be grossed out if you want. But know this - it has liberated me of my period. 5 days of ick is now 5 days of oh right cramp i have my period. I don’t even feel like there is a fluid collection mechanism in/on me. Unless you’re a user, you have no idea how much of a difference this makes.

I want to go all Mother Gaia and use my menstrual fluid as plant fertiliser but CB will have none of it. There’s a part of me that can see why but there’s another side of me that asks why not?

It’s still early days in planting, though. We have land tilled and fortunately watered thanks to three solid days of liquid rain. It is ready for seedlings and seeds. A few local farmers are helping us out and are eagerly showing us their methods.

We’d like to follow the natural curvature of the land and have slightly elevated beds of vegetables like brinjal/eggplant, beetroot, carrot, and ladyfinger interspersed with french beans, gliricidia and leafy vegetables like kale and jungle spinach. We'd like to surround the beds with citrus trees and chicken mesh to keep out herbivorous predators like porcupine, wild boar and even elephants.  

The vegetable beds are elevated with soil from the creation of lowered pits or swales that collect rain water for a precious few extra minutes for seepage into the soil rather than flowage through and away from the vegetable garden. This provides a natural micro irrigation method.

There is a permaculture course being conducted by John Champagne in Kombai in August courtesy Simrit Malhi of Roundstone Farms. There are a few rooms still available so if you're interested, the course is on from August 9 to 21. CB and I plan to audit the course if possible to try and gain an understanding of permaculture design.

It’s still early days and permaculture seems to be hip nomenclature for natural farming - something that has been practised in India for ages. However, there has been a policy shift at a central level that has paved the way for hybrid and crop-resistant varieties of plants that leads to increased chemical use in agriculture.

Our first batch of seeds are from the market and are those that are available to most farmers. I would like to conduct further experimentation in this regard.

I’d like to see if I can obtain and propagate seeds from my yield. I'd like to see how the plants grow and what the yield will look like. I am also geeking out over government oversight I use this word with all its meanings of agriculture.

I found out that seeds cannot be sold in packets unless they conform to certain standards of gene purity and yield. Also, that the barter of seeds between farmers is illegal! The Seed Inspector could catch you.

There is provision in the law Seeds Act, 1966 for these and more. As always, is there implementation? To what extent? remain questions nobody asks because nobody wants the answer.

Well, I do.